The Independent

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Hodgkinson defends indoor title in style

Great Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson defended her European Indoor Championsh­ips 800m title in style yesterday as she ran away from the field to take gold. The 21-year-old eased to victory in Istanbul with a run of one minute and 58.66 seconds, more than a second outside the British record she set in Birmingham last weekend, to win by a distance. Slovenia’s Anita Horvat finished a distant second with Agnes Raharolahy of France claiming bronze. Hodgkinson’s win was not unexpected – she went into the final with a season’s best more than three seconds

quicker than any of her rivals. “I’ve not had time to process it,” she said.

Arsenal down Chelsea to end trophy drought

Arsenal came from behind to end a near four-year wait for a trophy with a deserved 3-1 victory over Chelsea in the Continenta­l Cup final at Selhurst Park. England boss Sarina Wiegman, Arsenal CEO Vinai Venkatesha­m and Blues co-owner Todd Boehly were among the Women’s League Cup record 19,010 in attendance at the Premier League venue, beating last season’s 8,000 total at AFC Wimbledon. Sam Kerr netted the opener inside the first two minutes before Stina Blacksteni­us levelled and Arsenal captain Kim Little scored from the spot. Niamh Charles’s own goal extended the Gunners advantage late in the first half, with Melanie Leupolz coming closest for the Blues when she rattled the crossbar after the break. Arsenal were chasing their first silverware since winning the Women’s Super League title in 2018-19, while Chelsea were hoping to lift the Conti Cup for the third time.

Smith recalled to England squad for clash with France

Marcus Smith has been recalled to the 36-man England squad for their Guinness Six Nations clash with France. Having been dropped from the training camp in Brighton last week, Smith returns to join Owen Farrell and George Ford as the options for Steve Borthwick at fly-half. Smith came off the bench during England’s last two Six Nations matches against Italy and Wales, but played less than nine minutes of Test rugby across those fixtures. However, he played for Harlequins against Exeter and put in a good performanc­e during their 40-5 victory, earning a recall to the 36-man squad. His place in the matchday 23 – which will be announced tomorrow – is less certain, though, following Ford’s return to fitness. Manu Tuilagi was also named in the squad, but cannot appear in the match through suspension. Cadan Murley was included as the only uncapped player in the squad.

Kitayama wins Arnold Palmer Invitation­al

Kurt Kitayama endured an eventful final round as he edged out Rory McIlroy to claim his first PGA Tour title at the Arnold Palmer Invitation­al. The American carded a triple-bogey seven at the ninth at Bay Hill, Orlando, as he attempted to defend a single-shot overnight lead, but he gathered himself to come home in 35 for a second successive 72, which got him across the line at nine under par. McIlroy found himself in a four-way tie for the lead on eight under as Kitayama stood on the 17th tee, but the American’s birdie two put him a shot clear with just the final hole to play. He dragged his tee shot at 18 into the rough but managed to find the green with his second and left a monster first putt on the lip to clinch victory. Northern Irishman McIlroy started the day three shots behind the leader and put himself in contention with a round of 70, which included seven birdies alongside five dropped shots, but he ultimately had to settle for a share of second with American Harris English.

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 ?? (AP) ?? Keely Hodgkinson celebrates after winning gold in the 800m final in Istanbul
(AP) Keely Hodgkinson celebrates after winning gold in the 800m final in Istanbul
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